Final Post – Things I have Learned
I completed my year of treatment and came out the other side better than before. I continue to survive and thrive through my breast cancer journey. I thought I would reflect on the things I have learned to date. For those starting their journey or have a friend or family member starting I hope you find this helpful.
No one really properly described to me in layman’s terms what was happening inside my body. What I came to understand is that we all have good and bad cells in our body. When the body’s immune system is compromised enough and for enough time, the bad cells have a chance to overtake the good cells and eventually tumors form and move throughout the body. To change this not only do the bad cells need to be killed off, but the terrain in which the cells live needs to be altered for the good cells to take over again (Lifestyle Changes). The purpose of Chemotherapy and radiation is to kill off the bad cells. The problem is these treatments will also kill off the good cells. When this happens those things in your body that are weak are exploited and this is often when the side effects happen.
The first few weeks after diagnosis were chaos and fear. I quickly realized I needed to find a way to channel those emotions and stay positive. Although I felt like my life was being taken away from me, I decided to find a way to live day to day, find something to enjoy and laugh at because laughter really is the best medicine.
I was so humbled by the many people that came out of the woodwork and wanted to help but trying to talk to all of them was exhausting. I decided to form a team and identify someone as the point person. I started a blog that I would post to keep everyone up to date on what was happening. This helped so if I was talking to someone the discussion was not all about the disease but could be about real life. I also opened a Signupgenius account. This enabled me to post to the team of people what it was I needed, and people could self-select based on their own lives and I did not have to feel like I was begging.
Do not be shy about asking. I learned people really do want to help and feel good when they do. So as uncomfortable as it is to ask, your friends and family really do want to be there for you. Be creative about what you need. So maybe you host movie nights, but part of the gig is people bring the popcorn and must clean up afterwards too. If you need shopping done, you can ask weekly for someone to take your list with them when they go for themselves. But think about what you really need; assistance with tasks, social company, motivator, or compassionate listener.
The rule of thumb now is everyone should be drinking half their body weight in fluid oz. That meant I normally should be drinking 64oz of water a day. While on Chemo I was drinking 80 – 120 oz of water and still felt thirsty. It helped to remove the toxins in my body after treatments and helped to relieve any nausea I was experiencing. I think it also helped me to keep moving.
I would encourage you to find some type of movement that you can work up to and sustain. You will know what the point is that it flips from dragging your butt to energizing you, for me it was 1 hour.
I know how tired and crappy you will feel on any given day. But find a way to do up to at least 1 hour of constant movement. The movement gets the lymphatic system working which again helps to remove the toxins in your body.
I started walking every morning with a neighbor. I got up to 3 miles an hour. Since I had company it was easier to ignore how I felt and just walk through the rough points. By the time I got home I felt much better, and I would feel better the rest of the day. The days I did not walk or waited later in the day I would feel like crap and the fatigue would take over. Even now I can feel a difference when I do not walk. When I cannot walk outside, I walk on a treadmill with a TV or book to distract me.
Start thinking of food as medicine. As soon as I did this, I was able to prepare my body to withstand the chemo better. What your body will do when it is hit with the Chemo is fight back. It fights back by creating inflammation in your body. If you are also eating food that create inflammation or do not help reduce it, you will not feel good. Unfortunately, many of the medical professionals only focus on making sure you have proteins = meats, chicken, because it is an efficient protein source meaning you get all types of proteins in one serving on your plate. Instead, they should be concerned with all types of nutrients that your body is being depleted as well as the protein.
In my research I found the book “The China Study; Second Edition” This book addressed nutrition research from the 1970’s forward and addressed many of our diseases and what they learned about preventing those same diseases.
I chose to move to a plant-based diet and kept wild caught fish and organic eggs. I refer to this as a modified Vegan and modified Mediterranean diet. I eliminated the food that cause inflammation; meat, chicken, dairy, sugar, and because my cancer is estrogen driven, I kept Soy out as well. I also started eating mainly organic foods to again take toxins out of my world. It required a new way of thinking and eating, but I felt so much better. I never worried about how much I was eating, if I was hungry, I ate and still do.
You may experience times when you just cannot eat. I found that drinking my nutrients helped. Making your own smoothies or overnight oats will help. Do not go out and buy smoothies, they will have too much sugar. If you cannot change your diet then I would recommend sticking to organic chicken, fish, organic vegetable, organic fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Eliminate sugar that are not natural you will physically feel better. Sugars that are ok would be those that also incorporate fiber (i.e. Dates, whole fruits, maple syrup, molasses). A high-powered blender and food processor will become your friend in the kitchen.
One of the alternative therapies I tried was acupuncture. OMG! Did it work. I started acupuncture the second week of chemo (I had 12 weekly infusions). I had worse nausea week 3 than I did week 10. I would always feel wonderful for a few days after a session. If you can afford it, it will really help you get through the treatments.
Things to Expect
Your stamina will diminish - I did not feel a draggy fatigue feeling as much as my days got shorter. I would get up in the morning do my morning rituals, eat breakfast, walk, then try to meet with friends, do a project, or something else, but by the time 7pm rolled around I was up getting ready for bed and asleep by 8 – 8:30pm.
Your motivation will disappear – By my week 10 everything I wanted to do felt like way too much work. I had a hard time getting myself to do anything that was not part of my daily routine; various body routines, breakfast, walk, lunch, often times walk again in the afternoon, dinner then bed.
Your focus and memory will be impaired – When I switch tasks instead of it taking the normal 15 – 20 minutes to return to the first task it is taking days. I am told this is normal with chemo. I also had memory problems, but a year to two years out memory has improved. Chemo Brain really is a thing. I am told your brain does recover after chemo is done. I always carry a tablet or notebook to write things down. This way I can refresh my memory and recall things. It is getting better.
The One thing I Wished I Had Done Differently
Last summer I found a book that I want to recommend to you; “The Cancer Revolutions” by Dr. Erin Connealey. She is an Integrative Oncologist in Irvine CA. The book provides the road map for the “Lifestyle Changes” all the doctors speak of and recommend but say no more about or really address. I found that a lot of the things I did, and changes put me halfway down the road already. If I had had this book, I would not have had to recreate the wheel. The Cancer Revolution book and another one I found called The Cancer Secret (more technical about cancer disease) prompted me to search out an integrative oncologist to work with as well.
I will warn you there is a lot of politics between these two types of medical doctors. But I pushed through anyway. My attitude was that the Oncologist was doing his part to kill off the cancer cells and remove tumors, it was my job to change the terrain of my body, so it was inhospitable to the bad cells. I needed information about what was happening in my body to do this in a strategic and targeted way. Hence the Integrative doctor.
Once I went to the integrative doctor, I learned that my gut health needed repair. He put me on a Pre and Pro biotic. I am learning there is much research out there pointing to the fact that Cancer is a form of autoimmune disease and autoimmune diseases might start with gut health. Fascinating!
Reach out early to an Integrative Medical team. It could make the difference in how comfortable you are, and longevity. The medical doctors base everything on statistics, so they cannot tell you really what will happen to you.
Keep the Faith and stay positive.
My Final 6 Months of Treatment
On the positive side, significant and sustained lifestyle changes are supposed to reduce risk of recurrence 3-4% as well. I am working effectively to achieving those lifestyle changes too. I have gotten my BMI to less than 25 – I lost 39 pounds, I am exercising every day – I track 10,000 steps every day. I even did a 5K with Unite For Her on Saturday Sept 22nd. Considering I have never been a runner, it is quite noteworthy. In addition, I have slowly worked to eliminate toxins from my environment. The last piece of this puzzle is stress reduction. Exercise is a piece of it, but I also am very carefully considering what comes back into my life and looking at possibly starting Tia Chi. It is less impactful to my wrists and joints than yoga. If anyone would like to try it with me, let me know.
I am slowly starting to relaunch my business, Leveraging Financial Knowledge, LLC. Other things in my life are still chaotic, so I am working to get those things under control as well. I am finally feeling like I am back to myself and able to make progress. The silver lining; I have had to go through my closet to find what clothes fit and what I need to replace. I am back into my size 6’s in my closet, woo hoo!
Check - Radiation Done
Things are moving a bit slower now that the bulk of treatments are done, so my updates have become more sporadic. Radiation was done August 8th and recovery has been the two weeks that I was told it would be. The Biafine cream was amazing. For someone that has really sensitive skin, I only developed burns under my breast in the crease and right at the tumor site where they boosted the radiation for the last four treatments. The Biafine cream kept my skin pristine, I was amazed. It is sad that the radiology staff did not recommend it or any specific cream at all.
The only wrinkle in the radiation treatment happened on day 14 of treatment. That evening as I got ready for bed I noticed a bright red mark on the right breast, in my cleavage, a dime red spot on my left underarm, and a discoloration in my arm pit. It did not hurt or itch, so I went to bed. At 1:30am I woke up in excruciating pain, feeling like I was going to vomit, and my arm feeling swollen from finger tips to arm pit. It was clear that the lymphatic fluid was blocked. When I started thinking about it I realized that when I laydown the red marks were in a straight line. It appeared that the radiation was off and they singed my armpit. I went into the cancer center early and spoke with one of the nurses. My goal was to make sure it did not happen again, or to another person. The nurse tried to convince me it was an allergic reaction because they do not radiate where the marks were. I did not really care what they wanted me to believe, I just did not want it happening again. When I spoke to the technicians, they took me seriously and did another x-ray to make sure everything was lined up properly. It did not happen again.
The result of the radiation of my arm pit had lingering effects. It took three to four weeks to heal the burns and get the lymphatic fluid flowing properly so the pain and swelling in my left arm went away. I decided to look at it to obtain all my tools for managing lymphatic fluid from now on. I am always at risk of lymphedema, so I need to be prepared to make sure it does not happen. The tools are:
- Working with a Physical Therapist
- Manual Lymphatic drainage exercises
- General exercise every day – I do one hour of movement a day
- A lymphedema sleeve – I will need to use this when I fly
- Use of Turmeric Chia Tea that helps to reduce inflammation
I will not lie, I was angry and frustrated. It significantly took me off track in getting my life back on track. My focus was always on managing my arm which made it difficult to work on other projects. I have successfully gotten my left arm back to normal, and I am playing with Orchestra Concordia this fall. I have experienced significant fatigue of my arm, but every week I feel an improvement.
And Radiation Starts
I know I have been delayed with a post, but I wanted to get started with radiation and have a few days under my belt before writing.
Radiation started 8 days ago. So far there has been more issues with the equipment and scheduling than I have had with the treatments. Most of the time it takes longer to position me and set up the equipment than it does to get the radiation. Using the biaffine cream right after treatment has worked so far. I have gotten a bit pink by the end of the day, and if I put it on before bed, the skin is clear by the morning. I am almost half way there, and so far, so good. My energy level is good, and I am still walking every day.
Last Tuesday I had another Herceptin infusion. One of my Lions came with me for company and we were in and out in 30 minutes – easy peasy. It was nice to have company for the morning. We spent the time solving the worlds problems. If only people would listen to us, LOL.
I also had an appointment with the oncologist Tuesday morning and was a bit cranky and moody with him. I did not think anything of it at the time. By Saturday I started to feel off and every thought in my head was negative and sad. Sunday, I found myself being hyper sensitive to any criticism – I had the urge to cry. It is like a switch was turned. I have not had these feelings or thoughts at any other point in this journey. I do not feel like myself. I had a happy hour Friday night and a pool party on Saturday afternoon I went to. In both cases I did not engage with people like normal or come away feeling energized – I am a complete extrovert, I get my energy from being around people. I will be asking the doctor if this is part of getting past the Taxol, or a reaction to the accumulation of the Herceptin.
Last Sunday I had my first piano lesson in 34 years and played the instrument for real for the first time in about 20 years. The earie part is that the lesson was in the same house, at the same piano as 34 years ago. It was a wonderful experience, and has inspired me to play again, and even practice. Will wonders never cease.
For my lions, I want you to pay close attention to people in your life. I can tell you that what I have been feeling has not been showing to the people that I have been talking to and engaging with over the last week. So, check in with people you love and make sure they are ok. And yes, you can check in with me too. But I will be fine. I am taking steps to work with the doctor and explore alternative treatments to alleviate the symptoms that do not require more drugs.
The CSA dinners will start up again the beginning of August. Stay tuned for emails to alert you to sign up. It is wonderful to have you all supporting me.
Things are Settling Down
I am now about 6 weeks out from the Taxol infusions and feeling better every day. I am still struggling with fluid and continuing to do the manual lymphatic drainage exercises twice a day. The Neuropathy is tremendously better, and my stamina is back. I go to sleep later at night like normal and wake up in the morning at my normal hour – around 6:30am. I am still walking every day and will likely start upper body exercises without weight or resistance this week.
Today was the planning session for radiation. I had previously read on the Mayo Clinic website a summary of what to expect – it was spot on. My Radiologist was present, shared what to expect from the process and allowed me to ask any questions I had. The ones I forgot I was able to ask the nurses and got full answers. I am going to be doing the radiation at the new Asplundh Cancer Pavilion, which is beautiful. I start the radiation next Wednesday. It will be 4 weeks – 20 sessions. And from what I understand another 2 weeks of recovery. I am told that it is fatiguing, but not as bad as chemo. So, I will continue with my schedule of water, food exercise and sleep. Hopefully I sail thru this.
As for preparation for radiation, I found the advice rather interesting. My Doctor did not have any specific cream he recommended, and the nurses sort of believed that the creams do not really help they just make the patients feel better. Given how sensitive I am, I have decided to take the advice of a choir friend and use something that is made by J&J called Biafine. It is specifically for burn and radiation patients. Another friend that just completed her radiation treatments wishes she had prepared her skin by using the cream a few days in advance. I am taking that advice too. Stay tuned as to how this all works out.
I am still getting the CSA share boxes of veggies, so will be inviting people for dinner this week. I have to say getting the weekly box of veggies has been helpful in motivating me to cook, be creative with food prep, and trying new things. I have also decided to do another 8 weeks of the CSA this summer. I will not need to shop for vegetables until late September.
Ok, three lashes with a damp noodle – as my father would say. I did not realize how many weeks it had been since I had posted. I guess this is the reason I have been receiving more phone calls to find out how I am. Quite a bit has happened so let me bring you up to date.
Due to the advancing of the rash – open skin and more inflamed, and the neuropathy, my oncologist decided to stop the Taxol in week 9. Week 10 and 11 infusions were only Herceptin. This meant I did not get the cocktail of drugs, but rather only Tylenol and Herceptin and the infusion was only 30 minutes rather than a few hours. I met with the Oncologist prior to my week 11 infusion and decided to move to every three-week Herceptin Infusion stage of treatment. It is also now time to do another Eco-cardiogram to make sure the Herceptin is not impacting my heart. That will happen this week. In addition, after 4 weeks of rest from the Taxol, I will go for my planning session for radiation, and likely start radiation just after July 4th. The fun continues!
I am starting the 4th week after stopping the Taxol. All that time I have been working at trying to recover from some of the symptoms. You must understand, I have never been a primper, spending hours in the bathroom every morning. If I cannot shower and get ready in the morning in 30 minutes something does not happen – likely no make-up, LOL. Creating a morning and night time routine to take care of the rash and skin in general, do exercises to manage the fluid drain, and try to exercise my hands to get rid of the neuropathy is really a drag. I also have been continuing to walk every day. My system is still sensitive, so if I do not walk I am still experiencing a bit of a funky stomach and fatigue.
Just this week I started experiencing more pain and feeling of fluid fullness in my hands and fingers from the Neuropathy. In addition, last night I started with pain in my legs and tingling in my feet also the start of neuropathy. I did a bit of reading and it seems that it will often get worse before it gets better. My oncologist did warn me that it could take up to 6 months for the neuropathy to clear up. I am not too concerned, just frustrated. Patients has never been my virtue, and this process is not changing that either.
On the fun side, after stopping the cocktail of drugs, I have continued to lose weight. Since Jan 2018, I am now down 32 pounds, and a BMI of 26 (BMI of 25 is recommended). I now weigh what I did when I graduated from college. I started going through my closet to try to figure out what fits and move the clothes that do not fit to a different closet where it is staged for donation. I am never going back! I am still eating a plant-based diet, and really enjoying it. I am more creative in the kitchen, and I have no cravings. However, I do still like the smell or burgers and pizza. In fact, just the other night I decided to have a slice of pizza at the music festival. Wow was I sorry! By the next morning my stomach did not feel good, and the amount of inflammation caused by the salt and cheese I felt in my hands and feet was significant. It really reinforced how prophetic eliminating inflammation prior to chemo really was.
I also am finding my stamina is coming back. I can stay out later at night which allows me to start to participate in many of the things I use to do at night. I also am feeling more confident about my stamina, so I am willing to drive home later at night too. I am told that radiation is fatiguing, so I am expecting that this little reprieve will not continue all summer. I will continue to take one day at a time.
The picture below is the only picture I will allow in 2018. I am happy to take each day as it comes, find something to laugh and be joyful about, but in the end 2018 is a lost year in my book. I really do not want anything to memorialize it with. I am focused on getting through this better than I was before and setting and achieving goals that will manifest in 2019.
For my lions stay tuned for another CSA inspired dinner. I am getting the weekly deliveries on Tuesdays. I am finding that the vegetables do not really keep without cooking until the weekend. So, the next dinner is likely going to be a weekday evening. But with the sun setting so much later, it should still work.
Week 9 – Taxol and Herceptin
Happy Memorial Day weekend, hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the summer. I had the first CSA dinner this weekend and everyone had a wonderful time. The food was an adventure for some and conversation very lively. So those that could not come to the first dinner, there will be another opportunity so stay tuned for next dinner invitation. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and we can eat outside.
Week 9 we continued with the Taxol and Herceptin. One of the main reasons was that the rash was somewhat stable, and the neuropathy seemed to come and go based on level of inflammation that implied it could be temporary. I also was interested if there were any studies that indicated the effectiveness of Herceptin with only 8 weeks of Taxol rather than 12. Per my Oncologist none of the studies had a large enough sample to be able to draw any conclusions. The closer to the 12 Taxol and Herceptin infusions I could achieve the better off I would be. We continue to make the decision week to week.
During this week the rash on my arms does not seem to be responding to the cortisone cream as well. During the middle of the day and at night – about 5 hours after application – I start to feel itchy, the rash seems to become raised and look a bit more red. I cannot tell you how hard it is not to scratch. The neuropathy has settled into my finger tips and pads, and more often I am feeling pain in my hands which seems to be happening when my arms and hands feel swollen – inflammation.
I ask the oncology nurses what else I could do to eliminate the inflammation, and they had nothing else to tell me that I was not already doing. My decision at the very beginning of this journey to change my diet and eliminate foods that cause inflammation and other sources of inflammation in my life, has proven to be prophetic. I suspect I would be having a much more difficult time if I had not done this. Once the chemo started, I would not have had the ability for my body to fight back inflammation since the chemo creates it by its very presence.
The only day that I felt off this week – funky stomach - was Friday, but I was not able to walk that day due to appointments and running around I had to do. Walking in the morning makes all the difference as to how I feel the entire rest of the day. I am sure I feel it more acutely because of how sensitive my system is right now, but I am hopeful I can keep this up even after this year is over.
Things are starting to build, and I am feeling a bit more lethargic during the middle of the day. Not so much tired as unmotivated because things feel like too much to do. I can power through this most days, and usually I feel better afterwards. I have decided I am done with this game, I do not want to play anymore. No one seems to be listening, oh well I power on.
For my Lions this week, make sure you take advantage of the long weekend that marks the start of summer no matter where you are and what the weather is like. Make sure you hug those you care about and seize the moment for those spontaneous opportunities. We go around once; the moment may not present itself again. My seize the moment for this weekend, it to take the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
Week 7 & 8 – Taxol and Herceptin
I skipped a week keeping everyone up to date. I know that many of you have been reaching out to find out if I am ok. All is well, it was just a bit challenging trying to manage all the symptoms that are starting to accumulate. And since I was not sure what the out come in week 7 would be, I just sort of skipped it to try to have more to tell you.
I should have known that one of the most challenging symptoms would be dry scaly skin, no one mentioned it to me, and it was not top of mind with everything else going on. I have a rash on my arms that has developed slowly over the last few weeks. Of course, week 7 & 8 were the weeks that it decided to become somewhat inflamed. In addition, my hands have severe eczema and my face is so dry and scaly that no lotion works. An hour after I apply the lotion it feels like nothing happened. The area around my eyes felt like I had scratched it they were so irritated. Thanks to me PEO sisters, the face wash and cream they found was able to do the trick. After applying three times a day for a few days, I was able to fix my face for the time being. And my oncologist recommended using a cortisone cream for my arms to repair and reduce the inflammation on my arms. All of this took a few days to a week to get under control.
Tip for anyone reading this: If you know of someone starting Chemo of any kind, 80 – 90% of chemo patients have skin issues. Lotions do not work. You need to find a good cream meant for chemo and radiation. I also recommend you start using it as soon as you start treatments. This will help prevent/minimize some of the challenges most patients experience.
The most concerning of symptoms was the neuropathy did not reduce or stabilize with the lower dose of Taxol in week 7. During the week after treatment I started experiencing a spread of the numbness to the pads of my fingers as well as pain in my arms and hands. One of the nights I also experienced pains in my legs and tingling/numbness in my feet over night. After discussion with my oncologist we decided to complete the 8th week of treatment, then assess the best course of action. So right now, I am watching and waiting to see what happens this week. So far I have only had numbness in my finger tips the first few days after treatment. Then today I have experienced an advancement of the neuropathy to my finger pads. I have not had any continuation of pain or numbness in my legs or feet. Right now, we are on a wait and see if I continue with Taxol and Herceptin for the remaining 4 weeks or however long I can go, or switch to Herceptin only.
I also managed to catch a cold this week. The morning after treatment I woke up with a scratchy throat and very stuffed nose. I was hopeful that I just needed water to lubricate my throat and blow my nose a lot because it was due to allergies. Not so. The runny nose and sore throat lingered for a few days and by the end of the week was on the downhill side. But it has been a wake-up call about how the build up of chemo is compromising my system. I made the very hard decision to not attend an event due to the numbers of people that would be attending. I am a people person, so that is hardest part of this experience.
But do not be sad for me, I am filling my time with reading, movies, cooking and exercising. I have lost 30 pounds since beginning of January. During chemo treatments so far, I have leveled off due to the drugs in my system, but I really feel good. Going to a mainly plant based diet made all the difference. And I have to say, I do not have cravings, I am fully satisfied after every meal. I do not have an urge to snack during the day unless my funky stomach comes back, and I need to make sure it has something in it. Thanks to acupuncture, I have not had a seriously nauseated stomach since week three. For those interested in learning more about the plant-based diet and why I chose to go this route search out the book, “China Study; edition two.”
Speaking of food my first week of the CSA Lancaster Farm Fresh delivery will be Tuesday. There will be way too much food for me, so look out for an invitation to a dinner at my house where we will have the pleasure of learning how to cook in a plant-based diet world by a local vegan/vegetarian chef. I am determined that my friends and family will not have to take this route to getting healthy and avoiding any form of cancer.
Week 6 – Taxol and Herceptin
Woo Hoo! Half way done with the most difficult of the stages of treatment.
After the last post, I did experience a bad nausea day on Monday. It was also the day of the week with the barometric pressure going crazy. Clearly, I am very sensitive to changes in my environment now. Week 6 chemo day was again uneventful. Had acupuncture on Thursday. I personally swear by acupuncture. It is really working for me. If I keep a strict schedule my nausea seems to be minimal to nothing. But if I do not walk first thing in the morning, or eat at prescribed times of the day, or get to bed around 9 – 10pm, my body screams at me in not very nice ways. It is frustrating because I have always had a very active life that had me running everywhere and doing things at night. This is forcing me to take a step back and learn to say no to things. I guess not a bad thing, but very frustrating.
This week my oncologist also addressed my oncoming neuropathy by reducing the Taxol dosage by 10mg and extending the infusion time in the hopes that we can hold back the neuropathy in my fingers and it does not become permanent. I am trying to not borrow trouble, but I am also trying to come to grips mentally with the possibility that I may have trouble playing the violin and piano in the future.
This week also brought about a huge change. One of my walking buddies came by on Thursday morning and had to break the news that my hair looked like a bad comb over. It was time to decide how to deal with the emotional impact of losing my hair. Up until now, chemo days were just another appointment on the calendar. Since I have been feeling so well, I could forget about the cancer for huge portions of my week. But the loss of the hair is a constant reminder every time I look in the mirror. So, like most things I needed to act rather than let life take me. Two of my lions went with me to my hair dresser to record the event. I shaved it all off!
I was nervous about what my head shape would look like, and if I could handle the look. I decided I like it. It is freeing; great on warm days, and no more good and bad hair days. I have become the Warrior Jewish American Princess.
Week 5 – Taxol and Herceptin
Another week down and again the infusion day was uneventful. The fun happens in the days ahead. But surprise, as of today (Friday) this week has been one of the easiest. I guess I should not count my chickens before they hatch. I still have the weekend days to get through. But so far this week the nausea was been almost nonexistent. I am still keeping to a strict schedule and drinking lots of fluid and walking every day which is supposed to help with all symptoms. I suspect the weekly acupuncture is making a huge difference.
The neuropathy I experienced last week also went down to a dull undertone that just felt like it was going to rear its head if something changed. One of the things I did was read up on the Dana Farber Cancer Center site. The articles indicated that vitamins B6 & B12 could potentially help to alleviate the risk, although not scientifically conclusive. While reading I also learned that those that do a plant based diet often can have trouble getting enough B12. This week after clearing with my oncologist, I added to my vitamin intake with B6 & B12. Between the acupuncture and vitamins, I might have changed the advancing neuropathy. Time will tell.
My hair is still shedding and getting really thin. So far people are telling me I do not have bald patches, but I am not sure if they are just trying to be nice. I cannot see the back of my head. I am holding on so far, but if bald patches start appearing, I will probably have my head shaved. I have found some wonderful hats, and I have the retro scarves from my great aunt. As my cousin reminded me, wearing the scarves will be like getting a hug from my aunt.
This weekend I get to hang out with some wonderful friends form High School days. I am really looking forward to catching up with everyone. Here is hoping that the nausea does not rear its ugly head, so I can enjoy our time together. One more week and I am half way done. Staying focus and marching forward.
Lesley is an adventurous, musical and happy person that has been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.